Wednesday, May 1, 2013

short k-drama reviews: Boys Before Flowers, Mary Stayed Out All Night, City Hunter, You're Beautiful, Secret Garden

Lately I've been somewhat obsessed with Korean drama shows. I hardly have time for manga and anime! Help?

I have to say there are quite a few things that annoy me though, for example the constant friend-zoning of the nice guy, while the girl for some reason (I don't know why) falls for the mean guy. Apparently I'm supposed to feel pity for the mean main guy because of whatever - but it doesn't work on me.
The female main character... well, it depends. They seem to start off as these strong women, but quite often it turns out different. That may lead to some disappointment.

Boys Before Flowers

I've already seen Hana Yori Dango and I started watching the Korean re-make... well, probably because of Lee Min Ho. I have to say though the one who suprised me was the second male lead Ji Hoo, the nice guy of F4, the one the girl originally has a crush on. He's a lot more charming and good-looking than in the Japanese version, in my opinion.
I stopped watching when she gave up on him and choose the other guy, after about seven episodes. I really got too annoyed at this (even though I knew before).

Watch? No.


Mary Stayed Out All Night (or: Marry Me, Mary)

This one is a little different.
Mae Ri's dad has a lot of debts and when he meets an old friend again (who's now very rich), he wants his daughter to marry his friend's son - as they promised back when they were kids. Everyone involved has their own secret scheme - but Mae Ri doesn't want to marry. She talks a talented indie singer (who she perviously ran over with her car) into posing as her spouse. Then things get complicated. Very complicated.

In this drama the male lead is poor, both of the guys are nice and Mae Ri actually shows some initiative and backbone. It also has nice music and Jang Geun Suk (whose smile is amazing). I really loved his outfits, too.
What drove me mad was how everyone seemed to always do what their parents told them to, no matter how sick and messed-up it was.

Watch? Yes, especially if you like rock music.


City Hunter

I've heard a lot of good things about City Hunter. And also there's Lee Min Ho. So I gave it a try, though I'm usually not into action series.
I very nearly stopped after the first episode. I don't like violence and there was a lot of that (and no Lee Min Ho). But I gave it another chance and that was a good thing.
Of course things are a bit fishy... A young man raised by drug dealers in the Asian jungle goes to the U.S. and within a few years graduates from MIT? Yeah, right...
Anyway, Lee Yoon Sung starts to work for the government - while he's planning a revenge on the people who caused the death of his father, a former soldier. A friend of his father kidnapped him as a baby and brought him up just for this revenge, but Yoon Sung plans to deviate from the plans by not killing people. At the same time he promised a friend to look after a girl called Kim Na Na, who happens to start working for the government as a bodyguard. So he's quite a busy bee. And of course romance ensues where it shouldn't and lifes get entangled and there's lots of secrets about their parents to be unveiled.

It was really suspenseful and not as violent as I expected (though also people don't wondrously stay unharmed). The female lead kicked ass - literally. I really liked that, you seldom get a tough female main character in Asian dramas. Or actually in any movie or series - where is there a scene when the female action hero saves the live of the male action hero and is allowed to fight against guys, not only the cliché evil woman? And also Lee Min Ho looks especially yummy in this one (though I'm not quite sure about some office clothing choices). I liked the issue of loving someone who stands on the opposite side and who you might have to face in a life-or-death situation.
The thing with the cliffhangers got a little too much. You know, sometimes you just want an episode to end normally without any catastrophe. Also they killed off a character I liked, one I didn't expect them to kill off. And of course wearing a mask that covers your mouth will not keep people from recognizing you - but that's the usualy unrealistic stuff you have to deal with in action series.

Watch? Definitely.


You're Beautiful

Again Jang Geun Suk as a singer. This similarity to Mary Stayed Out All Night is what made me watch.
The famous idol group A.N.JELL adds a new  member to their band - but he's in America for an emergency surgery. Good thing he has a twin sister - no-one will notice, right? So the girl, who's set to become a nun, is thrust into every girls dream, working and living with three famous good-looking musicians. Well, there's not many surprises from there on, just the usual for that genre. People all fall in love with her, some discover the secret and keep quiet or have to be kept quiet, and all that.
This drama was pretty much the worst one concerning friend-zoning the amazing guy. Seriously, seeing Kang Shin Woo being shot down yet again really broke my heart. The female lead was a little annoying, being shoved from here to there, mainly doing what others want her to do. But Hwang Tae Kyung wasn't as "evil" as the main male characters the girl falls in love with usually are; so that was somewhat acceptable.

Watch? Maybe.


Secret Garden

I started watching this one because of Philip Lee (the doctor in Faith) - do you see a pattern in my k-drama choices there? *cough* But I'm not too sure that I will continue with this one.
Arrogant rich guy mistakes a stunt woman for an actress but for some reason is fascinated by her and keeps stalking her. She's a big fan of "aging" pop star Oska, who happens to be that guy's cousin. I can hardly repeat any plot here, it's so insignificant. At some point they switch bodies - not sure why, but it makes for some episodes of funny body switch comedy.

I really don't like the main male character. Like not at all. He's an arrogant asshole and a creepy stalker. The female main character is supposed to be a tough stunt woman - but really isn't. She's just getting pushed around, gets a little angry, but doesn't do anything. Big disappointment here, she looked like a cool character in the first episodes.
I kind of like Oska, the aging Hallyu (Korean wave) pop star. He seems to be the best developed character, a wealthy professional, player and a pop star, but insecure about his own abilities. As in Faith Philip Lee is somewhat under-acting, but I do like that calm, strong presence. Plus there's a shower scene.

I'm not sure whether I'll go on watching. The body switch part was amusing, but it's now over and I just know she's going to end up with the asshole guy and it already makes me mad. On the other hand I'd like to see how Oska's story turns out (hoping for some shonen ai there...) and of course some more of Philip Lee.

Watch? Meh.


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